2011-2012 TV Season: The Weekend

Either the heads of programming are congratulating themselves for a well though out 2010-2011 Saturday TV schedule or they’ve accepted most people are (a) outside their home having fun, (b) watching a movie in the theater or on Netflix, (c) cleaning out their DVRs of weekday shows, or (d) all of the above.

The Saturday schedule of new TV shows is zip, nada, nothing. ABC’s got college football. CBS is slotting in Rules of Engagement at 8:00 and then Comedytime and Crimetime Saturday, which are a not-so-clever way to disguise reruns of show that were on a couple days earlier. Oh, CBS also has 48 Hours Mystery, which I didn’t even realize was still on. NBC isn’t trying to cutesy up their schedule; it’s up front about its Encore programming. Even Fox is honest (hah!): After an hour of Cops, it’s encores or specials of America’s Most Wanted.

Sunday, however, brings a couple of new shows.

ABC – Once Upon a Time – 8-9
Midseason if it’s lucky
The official synopsis is hard to follow and involves a weird connection of abandoned kids. Suffice it to say, it’s about a town populated by fairy tale characters who don’t know who they are. What could work in the show’s favor is it’s up against reality television and animation. But it’s about fairy tale characters who don’t know who they are. That’s why this show won’t make it past the midseason. Although I kind of hope it does since it plays into things I like. The creators were producers on Lost. I’m a fan of twists on fairy tales (even though I think a TV series of the Fables comic would have been a better choice). I enjoyed Lana Parilla in the short-lived Swingtown. I’ve liked everything I’ve seen Robert Carlyle in. And I’m a sucker for good vs. evil stories. I’ll watch it, but I’m never going to know how the story ended.

FOX – Allen Gregory – 8:30-9
Full Season,* Likely Return

The lead character seems to be the offspring of Stewie and Ari Gold. He’s a 7-year-old entering public school for the first time. Allen’s pretentious ways make him an outcast, but he has imagination and, I’m sure, spunk. This is scheduled to run to midseason, but since it’s sandwiched between The Simpsons and Family Guy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it back next year. Besides, it stars Jonah Hill who also created the show. Asterisk since it’s only scheduled to run to January.

ABC – Pan Am – 9-10
Makes it to midseason

It’s the 1960s and air travel is glamorous. Think of it as Mad Men meets the best parts of Catch Me If You Can and something the ladies can watch while their menfolk watch Sunday Night Football, which I’m sure was the pitch to the network. It’s from West Wing’s Tommy Schlamme. Christina Ricci is the big-name actor in it. It looks cute, but I don’t see the gimmick of stewardesses and pilots having much to do after the first couple of episodes. On the other hand, Schlamme made West Wing work and the head writer is Jack Orman, who made the conceits of ER and JAG work, but the guy who created Dr. Vegas. Besides, ABC has four shows already queued up as midseason replacements.


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